When To Use The 'Air Recirculation' Button In Your Car

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You can target the air conditioning toward your body, your feet or both. You can crank it up from cool to super cold. But if you’re not using your car’s “air recirculation” button, you’re not getting the coolest driving experience possible.

We’ve all seen the button — it looks like a vehicle with a swooping arrow in the center — and we’ve probably hit it from time to time. But there are very specific times when the button is helpful, and certain times when it’s not.

Use it when you get in a hot car

When you first get into a sweltering car and start to crank the AC, hit the air recirculation button, too. This will recirculate the now slightly cooler air from the car and cool it down even further, rather than pulling in more hot air from outside. The process cools your car down quicker than using the regular fresh air mode.

Once the air reaches a reasonably cool temperature, though, you can turn off the recirculation button to avoid the air becoming too stale within the vehicle. If you encounter a particularly dusty area or get behind a bus spewing out exhaust, you might avoid some of the smell permeating your car by temporarily switching the air recirculation back on until you’re past it.

Don’t use it in the winter

Recirculation traps moisture inside the vehicle; in the winter, which means foggy windows. So a good rule of thumb is to not use the air recirculation button at all if you’re using your vehicle’s heater.

If you don’t have this button in your vehicle, don’t worry. Chances are you’re in a newer model car, which is equipped with sensors that monitor the moisture levels inside the vehicle. It’s doing all the work for you, switching between fresh and recirculated air, as needed.


    For cooling - I believe when you first get in the car you should not use the re-circulation mode so you can vent the hot/stale air that's in the car but after a minute or two put it on to keep the car as cool as possible with as little effort as possible.
    For heating, don't use it.

    Your use the recirculate air when you get in a hot car is wrong, that's probably one of the times you should make sure you are not using it. Why? Because the air temperature in the car far exceeds the air temperature outside (a 30-degree day means the temperature inside can easily get to 60-degrees) thus using the recirculated air the air conditioner has to try to cool down 60-degree air as opposed to 30-degree air if it wasn't on. Yes once the air conditioner has been on for a little while and brought the temperature down then it will work more effectively on recirculated but not at first, try it and see how much cooler it feels not being recirculated to being recirculated.

      Also drive for the first few minutes with all the windows down to get rid of the hot internal air as fast as possible.

    Agree with the other commenters. The first point is completely wrong. When you first hope in the car the internal air kids hotter than external do recycling is a stupid option.

    Start your car and AC - medium speed, no recirculation. Open roof (if you have one) for as long as it takes to open all windows, then close it (~ 30 seconds). Close all windows starting from front. Then close the roof.
    Set fan for medium-low. It moves air slower accross the cooling coil thus cooling it more. Faster air movement across your body cools it too but not as much as colder air does. The above combination work best for me.
    After around 5 minutes, set fan to the second slowest speed. On particularly hot day, you may set air button to recirc. Just remember to open it to the outside air intake now and then. Try it! ????

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